The ride on the double-decker tram takes me through the streets of Hong Kong, and after I get off, I walk through Pacific Place, just another big building with offices, a shopping mall, and hotels, go up the escalators, cross a street to enter Hong Kong Park, my destination for the morning. Leaving the bustle of the city behind, I walk past Fountain Plaza until I reach a lake bordered with rocks and flowers, and full of fish. At the far side, I see palm trees, and high above them, the skyscrapers that make Hong Kong look like a jungle of concrete from a distance. But not here in the park. Once known as Cantonment Hill, this place once saw barracks and the residence of the commander of the British forces. In 1991, the area was turned into present-day Hong Kong Park, and judging from the number of people I see here, that was a wise decision.
The colonial building once housing the commander now is home to the Museum of Teaware. Not far away, I find a marriage registry, and a big heart, undoubtedly used as a frame for taking wedding pictures in a photogenic setting. Walking around the lake, I come to a stream in which I see lots of turtles, cascades, a bridge, and a waterfall. Walking through a tunnel in the man-made rocks, I reach the conservatory, in which I find an exhibition of orchids, cacti, and many more flowers and plants. A little higher up, I walk through the Tai Chi garden to the observation tower, and after walking up the stairs, enjoy the views over the park and the skyscrapers. The next thing to visit: the caged birds, and then, I am ready for the highlight of Hong Kong Park: the Edward Youde aviary, which I have already seen from above when I was on top of the observation tower.
The aviary is a large area, a natural valley covered by a huge net hanging high over it. A wooden walkway enables visitors to walk right through the trees, getting them as close as possible to the many birds flying around. I walk through double chain curtains, which prevent birds from escaping, and stop after a few metres. I hear birds singing and chirping everywhere, and am sure that, given the fact that they cannot really fly away, they will end up close to me. Indeed, one after the other, I see Bali myna, imperial pigeons, emerald doves, and many more birds display their beautifully covered feathers. There are many feeding stations with fruits, and it does not take long before a blue-winged leafbird lands on a papaya and starts eating. There are crowned pigeons, yellow-faced myna, parakeets, lorikeets, and many other species of birds found in South-East Asia and New Guinea. After all these exotic creatures, how weird to step outside, see the glass-and-concrete skyscrapers looming over the park, walking back to the main street and take a tram. It is exactly this contrast that makes Hong Kong Park so exciting!
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Hong Kong Park (Hong Kong). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Hong Kong Park. Read more about this site.